Ludwig & Walkenhorst dominate Brazilians for golden Beach berth

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 16, 2016 - FIVB World Tour leaders Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany continued to validate their status here Tuesday afternoon by posting a dominating two set win over top-seeded Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil in the women’s Beach Volleyball semi-finals at the Ro 2016 Olympic Games.

The fourth-seeded Ludwig and Walkenhorst scored their sixth-straight win of the competition with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) win in 38 minutes over the previously undefeated Talita and Larissa in the fifth international meeting between the two teams and the second contest in 2016.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst now lead the series 4-1 as the Germans defeated Talita and Larissa twice in 2015 at events in the United States and Japan, and nearly two months ago in a three-set the gold medal match at the Olsztyn Grand Slam in Poland.  The Brazilians’ only victory was last October at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in the United States when Talita and Larissa cashed a US$100,000 paycheck for winning the Fort Lauderdale gold medal.

The key statistics in the match was the blocking of Walkenhorst and the defense of Ludwig.  While the Brazilians had no blocks and seven total digs, Walkenhorst had five blocks and Ludwig was successful with 13 digs.  Both Germans had two service winners each with Talita and Larissa one each.  With the Germans successful on 67 percent of their attacks (26 of 39), the Brazilians were only 37.2 percent (16 of 43).

In the first set, there were 11 ties and two lead changes with the Germans scoring eight points when serving to the Brazilians’ five.  Talita and Larissa’s biggest lead was 14-11 after securing the lead at 7-6.  Ludwig and Walkenhorst tied it at 14-14 and went ahead for good at 17-16 as the Germans ended the set on a 10-4 run with half the points coming when serving.

The second set was all Germany as Ludwig and Walkenhorst scored first and broke from ties at 1s and 2s to score five-straight points with four coming on their serve.  Talita and Larissa pulled to within three at 9-6, but the Germans continued to stretch their advantage to 11-6, 13-7, 15-8 and 20-11 before closing it out with a successful attack by Walkenhorst.

The Germans are now the first European women’s team to medal in the Olympic competition.  Ludwig and Walkenhorst’s Olympic gold medal opponent will be determined after midnight when third-seeded April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States challenge second-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil.  The women’s medal matches will be played late Wednesday with the title tilt at midnight.


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